National Central Library (Florence)

National Central Library of Florence

The Library from Piazza dei Cavalleggeri
Country Italy
Type Public, National library.
Established 1714 (1714)
Location Florence
Size 5,627,205 books, 120,000 magazines, 29,000 16th century editions, 24,988 manuscripts and 3,715 Incunabula.
Access and use
Access requirements Open to anyone of 18 years or older
Other information
Director Luca Bellingeri

The National Central Library of Florence (Italian: Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze) is a public national library in Florence, the largest in Italy and one of the most important in Europe, one of the two central libraries of Italy, along with the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale of Rome.


The library was founded in 1714 when scholar Antonio Magliabechi bequeathed his entire collection of books, encompassing approximately 30,000 volumes, to the city of Florence. By 1743, it was required that a copy of every work published in Tuscany be submitted to the library. Originally known as the Magliabechiana, the library was opened to the public in 1747. Its holdings were combined with those of the Biblioteca Palatina (Firenze) in 1861, and by 1885, the library had been renamed as the National Central Library of Florence, or the BNCF. Since 1870, the library has collected copies of all Italian publications.

Since 1935, the collections have been housed in a building designed by Cesare Bazzani and V. Mazzei, located along the Arno River in the quarter of Santa Croce. Before this, they were found in various rooms belonging to the Uffizi Gallery.

The National Library System (SBN), located in the BNCF, is responsible for the automation of library services and the indexing of national holdings.

Unfortunately, a major flood of the Arno River in 1966 damaged nearly one-third of the library's holdings, most notably its periodicals and Palatine and Magliabechi collections. The Restoration Center was subsequently established and may be credited with saving many of these priceless artifacts. However, much work remains to be done and some items are forever lost.[1]


  1. "History of the National Library of Italy-Florence". Archived from the original on 2007-02-11. Retrieved 2007-04-04.




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Coordinates: 43°46′1.36″N 11°15′44.80″E / 43.7670444°N 11.2624444°E / 43.7670444; 11.2624444

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